Feb 11. Researchers have discovered two genes that make some strains of harmful
bacteria resistant to treatment by copper, which is a powerful and
frequently used antibacterial agent, says a new study.
discovery showed that Staphyloccocus aureus bacteria, which is highly resistant
to antibiotics, can acquire additional genes that promote infections and
antibacterial resistance and may open new paths for the development of
conducted by the Rutgers University in the US, showed the two genes, named copB
and copL, in some strains of S. aureus bacteria protect the germs from copper.
may promote the survival of S. aureus in settings, such as in hospitals, that
could lead to infections or they may lead to S. aureus strains with higher
hospitals began using it against bacteria found on medical instruments and
other surfaces. It has also been used for thousands of years to sterilise wounds
and drinking water.
But the two
newly discovered genes encode proteins that help remove copper from S. aureus
cells and prevent it from entering.
findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, revealed that some
strains of S. aureus have newly acquired genes embedded in their genome in
pieces of DNA called transposons.
Transposons aid in the spread of genes that can give rise to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and more likely to cause disease. The newly discovered genes are encoded within a transposon, said the study.
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